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November 17, 2009 11:29 AM   Subscribe

A year and a half ago, Henry Chung was an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch. Now he's an NYPD patrol officer.
posted by four panels (43 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
The NYPD is taking just anyone these days, aren't they.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:35 AM on November 17, 2009 [16 favorites]


Here's hoping he bumps into some of his former colleagues.
posted by mhoye at 11:36 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The post link requires registration. Here's the link to the story via Google News, which doesn't.
posted by yiftach at 11:36 AM on November 17, 2009


thanks yiftach, the nytimes link generator has died.
posted by four panels at 11:39 AM on November 17, 2009


So he has a job, right?
posted by geekyguy at 11:41 AM on November 17, 2009


This sounds like the concept for a sitcom and/or drama that would last for one pilot, 6 episodes, and then get briskly cancelled.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:47 AM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


They hired criminals as cops in A Clockwork Orange too, as I recall.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:50 AM on November 17, 2009 [10 favorites]


It is the same situation with military recruiting.

It seems like a strange thing to write a story about (over and over). If job A offers a good salary, security, and retirement benefits, why wouldn't someone take it if there isn't a better option?
posted by infinitefloatingbrains at 11:51 AM on November 17, 2009


That poor, poor former millionaire CEO.
posted by DU at 11:58 AM on November 17, 2009


His choice. Not sure if we're supposed to feel happy, bad, sad, or what for him. At least he's working.
posted by stormpooper at 11:59 AM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


The post link requires registration.

I cannot believe not everyone knows this by now.

false, false will get you in to the NYT.
posted by hippybear at 12:02 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


Last week, Officer Montilla said he arrested a 400-pound man in a housing project in Harlem who had 10 bags of crack cocaine on him. “The man was saying he was going to kill my mother, and kill my family,” Officer Montilla said.

Suspect: "I'm going to kill your family, motherfucker!"
Officer Montilla: "Good luck, they live on the fifth floor."
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:07 PM on November 17, 2009 [11 favorites]


They hired criminals as cops in A Clockwork Orange too, as I recall.


Well. Well, well. Well, well, well, well, if it isn't little Alex. Long time no viddy, droog. How goes?
posted by nola at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anythings better than back office.
posted by Damienmce at 12:24 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


Er, Merrill Lynch has traditionally given everybody but the cleaning lady an AVP or above. This is not news; the guy was a clerk. Merrill Lynch has been the most faithless Wal St. employer for the last 40 years, no news there either.
A former partner at Lehman being the mop man at Peep World, well, that would be news.
posted by nj_subgenius at 12:29 PM on November 17, 2009 [4 favorites]


assistant to the vice president.
posted by shmegegge at 12:34 PM on November 17, 2009 [3 favorites]


false, false will get you in to the NYT.

I'm always fond of "everyone," "everyone," but you learn something new every day!
posted by explosion at 12:39 PM on November 17, 2009


He's a assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch.
She's an actuary with a penchant for cracking skulls.

Together... they fight crime.
posted by PenDevil at 12:40 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Mop man at Peep World." You bet that's going into heavy rotation when I discuss with my students the need for at least a high school education.
posted by John of Michigan at 12:47 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


Strangely enough I know a quant who works as a special constable, has done for years.
posted by Damienmce at 12:50 PM on November 17, 2009


Mostly the article told me that the police force is just as susceptible as Wall Street to the cult of the sort of hyper-ambitious people who give firm handshakes, network constantly, devote their free time to resume-building, and breeze their ways through interviews. Meanwhile, people with funny hair, mediocre people skills, and limp handshakes who interview poorly and can't fill their resumes with a litany of sports team captaincies and fancy internships will keep on squabbling amongst each other for the scraps.

I would go on, but I'm worried about frittering away my strategic bitterness reserve and accidentally ending up happy or something.
posted by Copronymus at 12:57 PM on November 17, 2009 [6 favorites]


Mostly the article told me that the police force is just as susceptible as Wall Street to the cult of the sort of hyper-ambitious people who give firm handshakes, network constantly, devote their free time to resume-building, and breeze their ways through interviews. Meanwhile, people with funny hair, mediocre people skills, and limp handshakes who interview poorly and can't fill their resumes with a litany of sports team captaincies and fancy internships will keep on squabbling amongst each other for the scraps.

If it makes you feel better, I'd guess the Fire Department of New York isn't so prone to such stereotypes.
posted by exogenous at 1:11 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


It is the same situation with military recruiting.

I can see the movie suddenly, a picaresque tale of a young man with high ambitions of making it BIG on Wall Street. He toils hard, hardens his heart, loses the love of his life, sells his infant daughter for scientific experiments, but finally, he's right there, the right parties, the corner office, it's all happening ...

Then the crash comes. He gets laid off. He loses everything. He enlists. Six months later he's in military gear in Baghdad (or wherever), being an officious prick to some of the locals who are just trying to buy food. Finally, an eight year old kid slips an IED in the back of his jeep, blows him to pieces.

Crap Bon Jovi song plays over the end titles.
posted by philip-random at 1:12 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Mop man at Peep World." You bet that's going into heavy rotation when I discuss with my students the need for at least a high school education.

Interestingly, when I was a "mop man" almost everyone had college degrees.
posted by josher71 at 1:13 PM on November 17, 2009


Meanwhile, people with funny hair, mediocre people skills, and limp handshakes who interview poorly and can't fill their resumes with a litany of sports team captaincies and fancy internships will keep on squabbling amongst each other for the scraps.

What do I get for thinning hair, a firm handshake and mediocre people skills?
posted by adamdschneider at 1:34 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


His other job offer was to be a mortgage-backed security guard.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 1:39 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


What do I get for thinning hair, a firm handshake and mediocre people skills?

I'm guessing a government job.
posted by philip-random at 1:53 PM on November 17, 2009


No no, Mr. Chung was an assistant to the vice president @ Merrill.
posted by xmutex at 2:11 PM on November 17, 2009 [1 favorite]


fwiw, it looks like he's been too busy to update his linkedin page...

Also fwiw, NY Post wrote about him in March: 'STREET' TO BEAT - HIGH-FINANCE PROS FIND COP CAREERS.
posted by effbot at 2:57 PM on November 17, 2009


There's really no glad-handling involved in getting on the NYPD -- you qualify by getting a high score on a standardized test and not failing a fairly easy physical and psychological screening. High scores on standardized test are also (along with seniority) the primary requirements for the first three ladders of promotion.

If the job market stays bad, you wouldn't be surprised to see almost an entire Academy class consist of college graduates -- the people with a known aptitude at standardized tests, after all.
posted by MattD at 3:24 PM on November 17, 2009


Yeah, in banks anything with "vice president"(apart from senior/exec vice president) in the title is actually quite low ranked. From the description of his job it sounded like he was basically doing clerical/back office work which may not have paid much more than his new job and certainly a hell of a lot more boring.
posted by pravit at 3:24 PM on November 17, 2009


From the description of his job it sounded like he was basically doing clerical/back office work which may not have paid much more than his new job and certainly a hell of a lot more boring.

Umm. From the March 2009 NY Post article I just linked to:

"Henry Chung walked away from a six-figure salary and a job as an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch for the crime-fighting satisfaction of the NYPD. [...] There was lots of stress [in finance]," said Chung, 34, who patrols his home neighborhood of Jackson Heights since graduating from the academy in December. "That's one thing people don't realize with finance. The stress comes home with you after you leave work." [...] The Queens College grad was inspired to become a cop by 9/11, when he was working near the World Trade Center. "I didn't want to become another finance person making tons of money looking back on my life, asking, 'What have I accomplished?'" Chung said. He took the police exam in 2004 and entered the academy in July. Initially, he caught flak from his Wall Street co-workers over the switch, but as the markets tumbled this fall, the ribbing turned to praise."
posted by effbot at 3:38 PM on November 17, 2009


...I haven't known any NYPD who can ever leave their work at the station. If you get stressed out by a spreadsheet then perhaps police and air traffic control work are not for you, long term. Just saying.
And at Merrill, a $100K job is easy...until you get shitcanned after a market correction.
posted by nj_subgenius at 3:54 PM on November 17, 2009


Met a cabbie in Singapore who was an oil trader until 2007. Said he earns in a day what he used to spend on a _meal_ with his ex-clients. He, however, is very happy now; says he can meet more people while riding a cab and doesn't have to keep up pretenses anymore.
posted by the cydonian at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2009


said*. Something about tense being the same across sentences.
posted by the cydonian at 4:03 PM on November 17, 2009


pravit: From the description of his job it sounded like he was basically doing clerical/back office work which may not have paid much more than his new job and certainly a hell of a lot more boring.

effbot: Umm. From the March 2009 NY Post article I just linked to: "Henry Chung walked away from a six-figure salary and a job as an assistant vice president at Merrill Lynch for the crime-fighting satisfaction of the NYPD..."

Protip: on MeFi it usually helps if you read the hyperlinks referenced in the FPP before commenting.
posted by ericb at 4:38 PM on November 17, 2009


Protip: on MeFi it usually helps if you read the hyperlinks referenced in the FPP before commenting.

I read the FPP. He describes his job as "looking at a computer monitor trying to figure out why there’s a million bucks missing in the firm’s accounts." This sounds like a typical back office/operations sort of job at a bank. Could certainly pay a bit better than first-year beat cop, but definitely one of the less glamorous jobs in banking. My point was that this isn't some highfalutin' equity structured products trader deciding to ditch Wall Street to join the NYPD.
posted by pravit at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2009


The NYPD is taking just anyone these days, aren't they.

The fact that comments like these pass for humor strikes me as a good barometer for the devolvement of this site's ability to discuss this crisis.

Here's some BLS numbers. The financial services industry provides eight million jobs in the US. Now, an argument could be made that that's too high, which is fair. But a majority of the people working in this industry make far less than $100K. Normal people, many of whom did not goto college.

It's really easy to be critical of the industry. It's very easy to want to string up the CEOs of these firms. But normal, hardworking people who lose their jobs, and re-enter the job market in a non-financial sector should be praised, not mocked. This is a great story of how the shrinking of the industry can have positive results for a community.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:24 PM on November 17, 2009 [2 favorites]


And after a while, you can work on points for style.
Like the club tie, and the firm handshake,
A certain look in the eye and an easy smile.
You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to,
So that when they turn their backs on you,
You'll get the chance to put the knife in ...

oops, sorry, thought this was the Pink Floyd thread
posted by kcds at 7:31 PM on November 17, 2009


SeizeTheDay: "But a majority of the people working in this industry make far less than $100K. Normal people, many of whom did not goto college."

a majority of the people in this country make far less than $100k. and many of them would be happy right now to have any job at all, and they weren't in any way involved in the shenanigans that have helped put our economy in the toilet. I'm glad for anyone that can get a job, but I'd rather it be the guy begging for change on the street than the guy whose hard-luck story is "I made less than $100k a year helping to destroy the US economy."
posted by shmegegge at 7:20 AM on November 18, 2009


Yes, except that 99% of all the people in the industry had nothing to do with the crisis, and your suggestion that because he was well paid means he's automatically guilty is a disgusting use of class warfare to incriminate otherwise innocent people. If you actually knew how the industry worked, as opposed to simply having a strong opinion, you'd probably be slightly more empathetic. I love how making a good living is now somehow a crime, when this site is filled with well paid IT/technology-related people, who generally have a college education. Do you indict the entire IT field when hackers steal millions of social security numbers, potentially destroying people's lives?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Best quote in the piece:

“The man was saying he was going to kill my mother, and kill my family,” Officer Montilla said. He said the angriest person he dealt with before was someone who wanted a better rate on municipal bonds.
posted by Maias at 1:53 PM on November 18, 2009


I have to agree with SeizeTheDay here. Finance-related posts are not something MetaFilter does well.

For every hotshot trader or investment banker, there are a hundred back/middle-office clerks, accountants, IT guys, secretaries, developers, etc. who never step on a trading floor once in their careers and have absolutely nothing to do with the decisions being made. To blame them for the crisis is akin to blaming the teller at your local BoA for "helping to destroy the US economy."
posted by pravit at 3:07 PM on November 18, 2009


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